Wednesday, 15 June 2011

1958 MILES

Just can't get enough miles in at the moment.
Mr Davis that is.....
Ploughing my way through the twenty album box set. Although "ploughing" is probably a bit of a bad choice of term because this is anything but a chore.
Like a lot of box sets I get I'm trying to approach this one "a bit at a time" - don't want to risk getting a severe Miles Davis overdose.
I have a strange attitude towards Miles. Love the early stuff, then the first great quintet and sextet of the 50's (with Coltrane on sax) all the way through to the second great quintet of the early 60's (with Shorter on sax and Hancock on piano). BUT I really, really can't abide his electric period in the late 60's and 70's - jeeze it leaves me cold.
There's a famous quote attributed to him from about 1975 where he says in that broken down,gravely voice of his that "jazz is dead". Just makes me want to scream out - "and you tried to kill it!".
Also. While it would be stupid not accept that Miles was "a" brilliant and "b" influential .... I don't actually think he was as important as some seem to give him credit for. And without the man being here to defend himself it's maybe a bit nasty to say, but I've read/heard a few people who've more or less said that Miles wasn't averse to taking other peoples musical ideas and passing them off as his own.

Anyway. Whatever your feelings there's no denying he had a massive output of good music in his time. And this box set is safe and bang into the middle part of his most productive stage with the first great quintets and sextets.
Favourite so far has got to be "1958 Miles". Possibly the least boppish and most modal of the twenty albums, to me it really sets the bar for the following years Kind of Blue (not included in the box set) - in fact the line up on this is pretty much the line up on Blue - John Coltrane on tenor sax, Cannonball Adderley on alto, Bill Evans on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Beautiful stuff. Read an awful lot a couple of years ago, when Blue was 50 years old, how it was "the" greatest jazz album and how 1959 was a key year for jazz. Well for my money this is better and pre-dates it! Covers fairly nice as well.

This album alone is worth the price of the box set.
Among the fifteenn or so Miles albums I already had there are a few live ones with the first great quintet. Going to try and dig them out next.


V. said...

Hello Stuart,
I would like to contact you in regards to the jazz documentary I am working on. There is no email address on your blog.
Thank you,
Valeria Rios

Ray said...

Hi Stuart

I've been listening to some good jazz on the radio over here. You can get it online at

Its worth a listen